Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/112

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peasants tying up the young vines, or trudging by with baskets on their backs, heaped with green cuttings for the goats at home. Old men, breaking stone by the roadside, touched their red caps to the pilgrims, jolly boys shouted at them from the cherry-trees, and little children peeped from behind the rose-bushes blooming everywhere.

Soon, glimpses of the winding Cher began to appear, then an avenue of stately trees, and then, standing directly in the river, rose the lovely château built for Diane de Poictiers by her royal lover. Leaving the carriage at the lodge, our sight-seers crossed the moat, and, led by a wooden-faced girl with a lisp, entered the famous pleasure-house, which its present owner (a pensive man in black velvet, who played fitfully on a French-horn in a pepperpot tower), is carefully restoring to its former splendor.

The great picture-gallery was the chief attraction; and beginning with Diane herself—a tall, simpering baggage, with a bow, hounds, crescent, and a blue sash for drapery—they were led through a rapid review of all sorts of worthies and unworthies, relics and rubbish, without end. Portraits are always